He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is back. Harry saw him with his own eyes. However, the ministry does not want to believe that the most powerful dark wizard in history has returned. In an effort to discredit Harry Potter’s story, they spend the entire summer publishing articles about how Harry is a troubled boy who lies for attention. By the time Harry returns to Hogwarts, it seems like everyone in school thinks he is a liar. Even worse, the Ministry has appointed the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, who is determined to bring every aspect of Hogwarts under her personal control.
While the world turns a blind eye, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is gaining strength. Connected by the strange bond that formed the night He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named tried to murder the Potters, Harry begins seeing flashes of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s thoughts and emotions. While he is fascinated by them, the adults surrounding him urge Harry to shut He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named out of his mind. Will Harry’s stubbornness be his downfall? Or can he use his unique connection with the Dark Lord to prevent more bloodshed?
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a similar length to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, continuing the trend of a longer page count. The tone of this book is slightly darker and more serious, with plenty of edge-of-your-seat moments to keep the pages turning. Readers will love seeing more of our favorite Goblet of Fire characters, including (the real) Professor Moody, Tonks, Lupin, Sirius, and more.
For the first time, Harry and his friends start to explore dating. Harry goes on a date with Cho and kisses her once, while Ron starts dating Lavender Brown, causing a rift in his relationship with Hermione. While these exploits do not become the main plot point, they do add interest to the story. Readers will relate to Harry as he muddles through his first date and will understand his frustration when adults insist on treating him like a child.
This book may not be a good fit for younger elementary readers due to the longer page count, darker tone, and slightly more mature content in terms of language and kissing. However, more mature elementary students and junior high students will thoroughly enjoy this next Harry Potter adventure.
- Hermione kisses Ron on the cheek before a Quidditch match. “‘Good luck, Ron,’ said Hermione, standing on tiptoe and kissing him on the cheek.”
- Harry goes on a date with Cho. They go to a café, and he is uncomfortable that everyone is holding hands because “perhaps Cho would expect him to hold her hand.” Then another couple “started kissing over their sugar bowl.”
- Cho “gave [Harry] a swift kiss on the cheek and hurried off.”
- Uncle Vernon grabs Harry when he thinks he has been using magic. “Two large purple hands reached through the open window and closed tightly around his throat . . . for a few seconds they struggled, Harry pulling at his uncle’s sausage-like fingers with his left hand.”
- When Dudley and Harry are attacked by dementors, Dudley panics and punches Harry. “WHAM! A fist made contact with the side of Harry’s head, lifting Harry off his feet. Small white lights popped in front of Harry’s eyes.”
- Hagrid tells a story about a tribe of giants he visited. After a fight, “the sun came up [and] the snow was scarlet an’ his head was lyin’ at the bottom o’ the lake.”
- Harry and Cho kiss, but the kiss is not described.
- Mr. Weasley is attacked by a giant snake. “He reared high from the floor and struck once, twice, three times, plunging his fangs deeply into the man’s flesh, feeling his ribs splinter beneath his jaws, feeling the warm gush of blood.”
- Harry sees a memory of his father at school when Snape and James got in a fight. “Snape had directed his wand straight at James; there was a flash of light, and a gash appeared on the side of James’ face, spattering his robes with blood.”
- Hagrid is ambushed. “Hagrid took two massive swipes at his closest attackers; judging by their immediate collapse, they had been knocked cold.”
- Harry is caught sneaking into Umbridge’s office. His friends are caught too, including “Neville, who was trapped in a stranglehold by Crabbe and looked in imminent danger of suffocation.”
- A giant gets in a fight with a herd of centaurs. “Fifty arrows went soaring through the air at the giant, peppering his enormous face . . . pebble-sized droplets of Grawp’s blood showered Harry.” Harry then flees.
- Harry and his friends are cornered by followers of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and a fight ensues as they try to escape. It takes place over an entire chapter but is not graphic. “He turned in time to see her flying through the air. Five Death Eaters were surging into the room through the door she had not reached in time; Luna hit a desk, slid over its surface and onto the floor on the other side where she lay sprawled, as still as Hermione.”
- Sirius is killed by a spell. “The second jet of light hit him squarely on the chest. The laughter had not quite died from his face, but his eyes widened in shock . . . ”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Harry knows that his cousin has been “smoking on street corners,” but the smoking is not shown.
- At a dodgy bar, Ron says, “I bet that bloke would sell us anything, he wouldn’t care. I’ve always wanted to try firewhisky.”
- Dobby says he has used the Room of Requirement, “when Winky has been very drunk . . . and he has found antidotes to butterbeer there, and a nice elf-sized bed to settle her on while she sleeps it off, sir.”
- Harry catches a “whiff of stale drink” when he meets Sirius.
- An eccentric teacher often gives “off a powerful smell of cooking sherry.”
- Harry and his friends often hang out in a pub. The adults there sometimes drink mead or firewhisky, but students do not. Once, a journalist “jumped so badly that she slopped half her glass of firewhisky down herself.”
- A student in passing asks Harry if he wants to “chip in a couple of Galleons? Harold Dingle reckons he could sell us some firewhisky,” but Harry isn’t listening.
- Before their exams, a large trade in brain stimulants pops up, such as powdered dragon claw, which is supposed to make you clever. After finding out the dragon claw is “actually dried doxy droppings,” it “took the edge off Harry and Ron’s desire for brain stimulants.”
- ‘For God’s Sake’ and ‘Good Lord’ are used as exclamations a few times. “Good Lord, boy, they told me you were intelligent.”
- The word ‘codswallop’ is used once.
- ‘Damn’ and ‘git’ are used several times. Once, Uncle Vernon says they were “too damn soft for our own good.” Another time Fred calls Snape a “git” behind Snape’s back.
- Fred calls Malfoy a scumbag.
- Hell is used once. Hagrid asks, “who the ruddy hell are you.”
- While at a planetarium, Ron says, “Harry, we saw Uranus up close! . . . Get it, Harry? We saw Uranus.”
- Harry Potter goes to a school of wizards and is a part of an entire world of magic. His studies include divination, potions, and defense against the dark arts. He goes to school in a castle with magical rooms, hidden passageways, and a phoenix. He encounters a giant, nifflers, and house elves. In short, Harry is surrounded by magic and supernatural occurrences every day of his life. As such, not all instances are listed here.
- Although the series revolves around magic, the story does not encourage children to try magic on their own. To cast a spell, wizards simply say a word and wave their wand. For example, saying luminos casts light.
- Professor Trelawney made a prophecy about the Dark Lord before Harry was born. She does not remember making the prophecy afterward, but it is stored in a secret Hall of Prophecies hidden in the Ministry of Magic.
- There are ghosts in the castle that behave like regular (although transparent) people. One of Harry’s teachers is even a ghost.
- After his godfather dies, Harry asks a ghost if his godfather will come back. The ghost says no, because “He will have . . . gone on.” When Harry asks him what comes after death, the ghost says, “I know nothing of the secrets of death Harry, for I chose my feeble imitation of life instead.”
by Morgan Lynn